Projects

Projects Map

Discovery Park

Categories

Approval Status

Project removed from GPF programme

Delivery Status

Project removed from GPF programme

Expected Completion Date

Project removed from GPF programme

Discovery Park is a business park in Sandwich, which was historically developed and used by Pfizer as a research facility before being redeveloped in 2000.  Discovery Park is now rented out to a number of businesses focusing mainly on the life science, pharmaceutical and bio-technology sectors. The GPF funding has been requested to assist with a first stage of the redevelopment of the site through improving the utilisation of empty or underused spaces. The underlying idea behind the redevelopment of the site is to create a mixed use site that complements the current commercial properties. To facilitate the redevelopment of the site there is a requirement for a new road to be built across the southern half of the site and for work to be carried out to prepare the mostly unused land for utilisation – the GPF funding will be used to bring forward the new road and the necessary preparatory work.

Project update

An update on this project was provided to the Accountability Board on 7th June 2019.  The Board were made aware that a change in project scope may be required.  This change in scope may come forward as a result of a change to the development proposal, following an increase in the flood risk at the site.  At the time of the update, work was ongoing by a flood consultant to determine the impact of the change in flood risk at the site. It was noted that a full project update, including an updated Business Case reflecting the change in scope, would be brought forward in September for consideration by Accountability Board.

A further update on the project was provided to the Accountability Board on 13th September 2019. The Board were made aware of issues which had delayed the delivery of the project including changes in land ownership, discharge of planning conditions and identified flood risk at the site. It was noted that these issues had now been resolved and that the scope of the project remained unchanged. The Board resolved to continue to support the delivery of the project subject to the following conditions:

  • Kent County Council must enter into a legal agreement with the scheme promoter by 31st January 2020; and
  • Prior to entering into the legal agreement with the scheme promoter, Kent County Council must provide confirmation that the GPF funding will only be spent on capital expenses, that the expenditure of the GPF funding will not constitute State Aid and that the GPF funding will be spent on contracts which are competitively procured.

A further report was provided to the Accountability Board on 15th November 2019. This report provided an update on the delivery of the project and progress towards meeting the conditions agreed at the Board meeting on 13th September 2019. The Board were asked to agree that interest could be charged on the loan in order to avoid contravention of State Aid regulations. The Board also noted Kent County Council’s intention to charge a 5% administration fee on the loan to cover costs associated with required legal and financial advice. It was agreed that if the scheme promoter did not commit to the terms of the loan by 1st December 2019, that the project would be removed from the GPF programme.

A final update was provided to the Accountability Board on 14th February 2020. This report indicated that, in light of the additional conditions and charges applied, the scheme promoter had indicated that they no longer wished to proceed with the GPF loan. As a result, the project has been removed from the GPF programme and the funding will be reallocated through future rounds of the GPF.

Capital Programme delivery update

Take a look at our update on the delivery of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF) capital programmes.

SELEP Capital Investment Programme

Growing Places Fund

The Growing Places Fund (GPF) was established by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government) and the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2011. The aim of this funding is to unlock economic growth, create jobs and ‘kick-start’ house building at stalled development sites.

The GPF was made available to SELEP for investment as a recyclable loan scheme. Loan repayment schedules for each project are agreed within the credit agreement which is put in place at the start of the project. Repayments against these projects are returned to the central pot for reallocation to new projects. Through the GPF Round 1 awards, a total of £47.459m GPF was awarded to 13 capital infrastructure projects across the South East LEP area. Initial repayments are now being made by some of the Round 1 projects which has allowed funding totalling £9.317m to be awarded to a further 8 projects through GPF Round 2.
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